"My goal here was just to allow the themes to be adult." Hitting theaters this weekend - The Wolverine. The return of Logan, for his 6th time on the big screen, this time in a solo movie set in Japan based on the Miller/Claremont comic arc. At the helm is James Mangold, director of Girl Interrupted, Kate & Leopold, Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma and Knight & Day, along with Hugh Jackman returning as Logan. I screened The Wolverine and actually loved it, and wanted to talk with Mangold about so much of the movie; how they pulled off the fights and the themes of Wolverine they handle so carefully. It's a quick chat, but a good one.
How did they pull it off? Can it live up to the book? These are few of the questions running through my mind to ask the team behind the Ender's Game movie, which we've been following closely for years. With the release of the movie a few months away (in early November), Comic-Con was their big launching grounds. I met up with director Gavin Hood and producer Bob Orci (aka Roberto Orci of K/O Paper Productions) for a brief but invigorating discussion on Ender's Game and this sci-fi adaptation. While they're still keeping secrets, we did talk about spoiling too much in the trailer, pulling off the Zero G, and plenty more. Read on!
Spidey and his villains. Electro. Rhino. The Sinister Six? Maybe. What about a Spidey-Avengers crossover, or Fantastic Four? I had so many fun questions to ask Marc Webb, and what better place than Comic-Con to have a good chat about our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and his foes. I caught up with director Marc Webb, who I have a long history with (interview in 2009, at WonderCon, in 2012), at the 2013 Comic-Con this year where he was presenting the first footage from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. This was also the big unveiling of Jamie Foxx's villain Electro. It was great to catch up with Marc and talk about the sequel.
"I am a student of cinema, and I love filmmaking of all kinds." He may be known as a master of horror, but James Wan is a talented filmmaker no matter what genre he's working in. I have been an admirer of the Australian director's career for a long time. His break-out feature was Saw, but he never directed any of the sequels. Instead, at least until this year, he made more original projects: Dead Silence, Death Sentence (which I actually liked), Insidious and now The Conjuring. Plus, he is attached to direct next year's Fast & Furious 7 and is also ready with his first sequel - Insidious: Chapter 2. I was lucky enough to sit down for an interview with Wan a few weeks ago to talk about The Conjuring, scaring audiences, and making horror.
"Their heads are going to explode." He's a legend - Guillermo del Toro, one of the most lovably geeky yet talented storytellers working today, behind films like Cronos, Blade II, Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth. His next movie is finally here, Pacific Rim, featuring giant robots called Jaegers fighting giant monsters called Kaiju. I was lucky enough to get 10 minutes to chat with Guillermo and covered as many questions about Pacific Rim and his life as I could in that much time. I always love hearing him talk about anything, but this is a good interview. We talk about his films and budgets, Star Wars, balancing his own life, and much more.
In the middle of April, I was invited to join a few other bloggers on a visit to the 20th Century Fox lot to check out the edit bay of James Mangold's upcoming superhero movie The Wolverine. But we ended up with something way cooler: Mangold himself took us to a private theater on to show us the first 20 minutes of the film, and then he spoke with us for a solid half hour about everything Wolverine fans could want to hear. While the (still unfinished) footage didn't quite convince me, Mangold's passionate description of his take on Logan definitely has me excited to see The Wolverine when it hits theaters next month. More below!
"He sees colors, I hear colors." One of my own favorite composers, and another person I love talking with. A few weeks ago, I got to sit down with composer Hans Zimmer for a lengthy discussion about making the new Superman score for Man of Steel, as well as originality and his working process. This is the third time I've talked with him, but it turned out even better than I hoped. He covers everything about Man of Steel and his work over the last few years including The Dark Knight, referencing John Williams, Chris Nolan and how he hears "colors" when coming up with music. It's a riveting and enlightening in-depth 25 minute chat with a legendary composer who has the remarkable talent of creating exhilarating scores. Watch below.
I've been following Zack Snyder since the very early days of FirstShowing. It was an article I wrote about 300 back in late 2006 that put me on his radar, and I have been invited to visit the sets of all of his movies since - Watchmen, Sucker Punch and Man of Steel. During the release of Watchmen, I spoke with Zack in a 20-minute interview and have met him many times over the last seven years. With the release of Man of Steel on the horizon, I was given the opportunity to talk with Zack Snyder again in Los Angeles and flew in just to record the interview in person on Flipcam. I wanted to ask about his career and decisions regarding Superman, and present this unique interview and discussion with Zack that cannot be found anywhere else.
"Art is not about perfection... perfection is not art." Now this is a great interview. At the end of the Cannes Film Festival I was given the opportunity to interview Nicolas Winding Refn, the controversial Danish writer & director of Only God Forgives, Drive, Valhalla Rising and Bronson. I was at Cannes back in 2011 when Drive premiered and was on the positive side of Only God Forgives when it premiered this year. I lucked out and ended up having a full 22-minute video discussion with Refn in Cannes, covering art and cinema to the Chinese food he just ate, to collaboration in Thailand and violence in society to everything else inbetween. Plus, that James Bond scoop I posted the other day is my last question at the end. Must watch!
2013's breakout success - Ryan Coogler. He swept the awards at Sundance this year, with Fruitvale taking home both the Grand Jury & Audience Award, then went on to play Cannes to a standing ovation. Next stop, Oscars? Well, before we get to that, it's time to catch up with the man behind it all, Ryan Coogler himself. I've been looking forward to talking with him ever since first seeing Fruitvale during Sundance. I finally got the chance to catch up with Ryan and chat about the film on the beach at the Cannes Film Festival this summer. The interview was recorded on a Flipcam and gives a good introduction to the story. Watch below.
"It could only be done the way we did it." Now in theaters is Oblivion, the second feature directed by sci-fi filmmaker Joseph Kosinski, who last directed Tron Legacy. Starring Tom Cruise as a drone repairman working on an uninhabitable future Earth, Kosinski created a new technique using LED screens on the set to envision the world and shoot without using CGI. I first met Joe on the set of Tron Legacy and interviewed him back in 2010. After giving his film quite a profile in A New Era of Sci-Fi is Upon Us, I reconnected with him last week for an interview about Oblivion, which was already playing in theaters by the time we talked.
"My job is how to affect people..." Meet Jeff Nichols, the Arkansas-born filmmaker responsible for three great films so far: Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter and recently Mud (all featuring Michael Shannon by the way). After falling in love with his new film Mud at the Cannes Film Festival last year, I wrote a glowing review, which ended up getting me quoted in the official trailer. Earlier this week in New York I went to see the film again and met up with writer & director Jeff Nichols afterward for a discussion on storytelling, his background, how exactly he makes his films, plus the main motivations behind all three of his stories so far.
After Slumdog Millionaire won Best Picture in 2008, director Danny Boyle was able to tell the wild true story of hiker Aron Ralston in 127 Hours. Three years later he's back with a new movie, and in keeping with Boyle's career thus far, it's not quite like anything he's done before. Trance is a riveting psychological heist thriller that plays with the concepts of memory and identity while slowly revealing the larger picture of a heist gone wrong. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Boyle about the film, and we talked about his thoughts on jumping between genres, the defining factor of his work as a whole, and plenty more. Watch!
When it comes to filmmakers that I love talking with, Derek Cianfrance is at the top of the list. I first met him at Sundance years ago for Blue Valentine, and have followed him since then up to the release of his next film, The Place Beyond the Pines, now playing in select theaters. I initially interviewed Derek on Pines at the Toronto Film Festival last year, and met with him again recently in New York for another chat. This time we talked about violence, specifically in The Place Beyond the Pines, as well as balancing how much of his own self he puts into his films, and what his most important values are as a storyteller/filmmaker. It's another outstanding interview with Derek and a fascinating discussion that I highly recommend listening to.